Fernando Rodney had one of the greatest reliever seasons in baseball history last year, breaking Dennis Eckersley’s all-time ERA record by saving 48 games with a 0.60 ERA in 74.2 innings for the Rays.
He allowed opponents to hit .167, struck out 9.2 batters per nine innings, and issued just 15 walks in 74.2 frames after a career filled with control problems.
Rodney hasn’t quite turned completely back into a pumpkin this season because he’s still holding opponents to a .211 batting average and has racked up 23 strikeouts in 15.1 innings, but his control has abandoned the 36-year-old right-hander and he’s coughing up runs in bunches.
In fact, after another ugly outing last night Rodney has already matched his 2012 totals for walks allowed (15) and runs allowed (9), and he’s nearly doubled his 2012 total for earned runs allowed (9 vs. 5). He’s gone from a 0.60 ERA in 74.2 innings to a 5.28 ERA in 15.1 innings, blowing three saves and taking two losses in his 16 appearances.
Just a friendly reminder that all deals with the devil expire after one season.
Christian Yelich simply can’t be stopped. The Brewers outfielder (and defending NL MVP) entered Saturday’s game with a league-leading 11 home runs after swatting two against the Dodgers on Friday night, then clubbed another two homers in the first six innings of Saturday’s game.
The first came on a 2-1 pitch from the Dodgers’ Hyun-Jin Ryu, who lobbed a changeup toward the bottom of the strike zone before it was lifted up and out to center field for a solo home run in the third inning.
While Chase Anderson and Alex Claudio held down the fort against the Dodgers’ lineup, Yelich prepared for his second blast in the sixth inning — this one a 421-foot double-decker on a first-pitch curveball from Ryu.
Yelich’s 13 home runs not only gave him a stronger grip on the league’s leaderboard, but helped him tie yet another franchise record, too. Per MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy, he’s tied with Prince Fielder for the most home runs hit by a Brewers player in a single month, and sits just one home run shy of tying Álex Rodríguez’s 2007 record for most home runs hit within any club’s first 22 games of the season.
It may be far too early to predict which players will finish first in the MVP races this fall, but there’s no denying Yelich has already set himself apart from the competition. Through Saturday’s performance, he’s batting .361/.459/.880 with a 1.329 OPS and MLB-best 31 RBI across 98 PA so far.